Part One of a series of sketches about the adventures of Stella Carmichael and Teressa Brighton
Stella couldn’t help herself. While at the office, she couldn’t help but steal a few moments to peruse online sites like Pinterest, Houzz, Anthropologie, Pier 1, HGTV… and the list went on from there. At base she found such delight in learning the different eras and designs of furniture and home decoration associated with a given era. Oriental rugs, Moroccan light fixtures, Victorian color schemes, French manors having been sealed from sight for a century or more: all came of interest to Stella and she could not keep herself from wanting to find originals. At the same time, she found herself wanting to recreate designs based off of the work of those who came before her. How could one explain this thing that she felt?
The themes and symbolism she’d found at the sites overlapped so nicely with her amateur understanding of history and her periodic dabbling in art history over the years. This tended to be the best explanation for her fascination she fell back on, however partial, but she kept her thoughts mostly to herself. How was she any different from other searchers categorically organizing pins on a virtual board? I am no special case, she’d just assumed and defined herself by.
The thing was that the house Stella was building was a hodgepodge of imitation artifacts on a virtual board. As a Millennial (it was a term just recently she found while trying to identify the style and buzz of activity among those her age) her insides pressed her to do something, to find a place where her virtual board would become a reality. Not often did she see her heart as a bloom as the ones seeing the urgency and pattern in her behavior.
Every three or so months Teressa, an intern who sat at a desk diagonal from Stella at Parrot Publishing, could sense Stella’s sort of distractedness. Teressa had been with the company just under a year, working mostly on proofreading jobs and page design programs and trends in templates. Each task put on her plate would have a two to three day deadline attached and she thrived in the hectic atmosphere of the publishing business. At one of her first coffee breaks, other interns made comments on “Bea’s plaid collection,” “Luca’s choice in gym membership,” and “Everett’s Pilot Diet,” soon to be hushed by the staff conversation about traffic on the Grimm Bridge and the evolving socialite scene at the city’s center. All who passed through the space made a passing comment, all but Stella, and Teressa noticed at once.
Stella’s lunch breaks would be more rushed with less said while with company next to the coffee pot. While at her desk during those times, too, she might be heard making calls to various art dealers and museum curators’ offices near and far. The Parrot so happened to be a place where quite a few personalities shown for individual expertise in the modern arts, but each had his or her own niche. Infrequently did one venture to other cubicles to know anything of another’s area.
That is, the ventures that Teressa had noticed lately were hardly informed by an interest in others’ work. Stella may not be so entrenched and isolated in her free time since she was reaching out, and so, in her intern position she began with a modest proposal in mind so as to really see what Stella was up to. Teressa would ask Stella to have a drink after work to discuss one of her favorite writers, Dostoevsky. It may turn out to be a shot in the dark, but it's the best I've come up with so let's go with it!
Having gathered the courage she knew to take up for herself, Teressa waited for the precise moment to extend her invitation.